Feb 23, 2015

Stewardship Among Farmers Is Degraded to a Moral Outrage

Update: See Scott Walker leads Wisconsin Republicans in Lies, Deceit, Corruption and Revenge.

Big Ag factories have propelled the rural-based Gannett Co newspapers to run investigative pieces on the destruction of Wisconsin waters, a trajectory that would be accelerated by Scott Walker's new budget and its unprecedented attack on the Wisconsin environment and the Great Lakes. (Sierra Club, John Muir Chapter)

Nice work. See Budget cuts affect manure spills, runoff mitigation (Rodewald, Green Press-Gazette).

Now, if we can just get Gannett Co newspapers to stop their endorsements of the polluters' political allies in the editorial page.

Bernard Starzewski who lives near Manitowoc in eastern Wisconsin connects the dots on the betrayal of Wisconsin by Big Ag and the Republican Party.

By Bernard Starzewski

I would like to commend Gannett for an excellent series of reports and commentary regarding the environmental debacle in Kewaunee County. In the 1980s I was the first farmer to participate in the Wisconsin Fund to implement manure-run off control in the Manitowoc river water shed. At that time I had 65 cows which by today's standards is hardly a farm at all. What was then a common ethic of stewardship among farmers has now degraded to a moral outrage.

Our politics have betrayed us.

We have bought wholesale into the notion that we are somehow better off by allowing the moneyed interests to decide what is best for us and that prosperity is gained from simply turning them loose. Nowhere is that more evident than in Kewaunee where there is overwhelming support for ultra-conservative Wisconsin politicians State Rep. Andre Jaques (R-De Pere) and State Sen. Frank Lasee (R-(Apparently lives outside the district he is supposed to represent) who then return the favor by giving these operations a pass over the obvious interests of their constituents.

As that crew attempts to patch Walker's broken budget the victims in Kewaunee will find much company in their misery. Regionally, six warden positions out of the Green Bay office have been left unfilled resulting in a 70% decrease in tickets issued. Eighteen more in DNR's science bureau are to be cut representing 31% of their personnel. With hamstrung science and crippled enforcement the entire state will soon join them.

Republicans are responsible for attempting to remove over 14,000 acres from the public domain, a prime goal of the Dairy Business Association whose members include the very Kewaunee farms that are destroying the water there. Some of that public land and water includes the Besadney nature preserve and fish station that supply much of the salmon eggs that support the Lake Michigan sport fishing industry. One of the largest CAFO farms there virtually surrounds the nature preserve.

Unless we begin to connect the very real dots between our collective loyalty to these politicians the situation will continue to decay. They are the tributaries to this river of filth which now threatens to inundate the entire state. That's not prosperity trickling down, its BS.
A version of this letter appeared in HTRNNews.com (Gannett Co).

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